5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliantly written book by one of the very best. 24 Aug. 2015
By Alec Hawkes
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What can one say about the writing of Mr. Chuck Lovatt that hasn't been said already? Well now, this is a challenge, and one which I will not shirk from neither! This book that I am about to rave about is the second in the 'Charlie Smithers Series', and what a fantastic read it is. Mr. Lovatt doesn't just write a little story with a beginning, a little bit in the middle, then an ending, as many seem to in these days of 'book market saturation'. Oh no, not a bit of it. He writes the entire story, with so much detail, so much graphic description - both of events and the character and personality of the main protagonists - that one can really feel so close to the action, the events as they unfold. It is a rare privilege to read the work of this author, one that must be savoured; every moment, every paragraph, every chapter. Chuck Lovatt is, without any doubt whatsoever, a writer of supreme talent and insight. His research into the era in which he plants our hero - Charlie boy - is quite exceptional. When one settles into the story after the author has set the scene with his usual aplomb; enough detailed information to know exactly where we are, and how the situation was - it is so beautifully written that one can almost see the story as it unfolds. You see, Chuck's attention to detail - often the tiniest of details that most overlook - is quite exceptional. He really leaves nothing to chance (save the reference to fifteen pence, for which a pardon is summarily granted!) - and this helps enormously to get the feel of just exactly what is going on in the story. As for the story itself; well, it would be monstrous carelessness to give away too much and ruin it for others. Suffice to say just this. The year is 1864 and Charlie Smithers has been 'dragged' off to the jewel in the crown of The British Empire with his master, the lovable buffoon that is Lord Brampton. As with many places under British rule in those days, skirmishes with those not overly happy to be ruled by the invader, were many and inevitable. As a former soldier of great distinction, Smithers' reputation has preceded him and he soon finds himself embroiled in a long trek north to 'sort out the revolting natives', as it might have been put by a stuffy British 'gentleman' of the time. Charlie, though, is a deep thinker - moreso with the passing of the years - and he very soon sees the folly of what he has been 'roped' into. The vainglorious head of the party undertaking the trek from Calcutta to the troublesome north is a total fool, a certain Mr. Eden. Charlie holds the idiotic Eden in contempt - a feeling not quite mutual as Eden is very aware of Smithers' undoubted talents as a soldier and decent fellow who has the ability to read the situation and act accordingly, unlike the pompous fool himself. Though Eden's vanity, it seems, know no bounds at all as the party he leads goes headlong into what could so easily have been unmitigated disaster. That it wasn't owes something to good fortune, but much to the good sense - not to mention the unwavering courage - of our hero Charlie. Along the way much happens, all described so brilliantly by the author, including some fierce encounters with those who would rather not be subject to The Empire, as well as several periods of deep contemplation by our hero. He falls in love along the way; he examines his own inner self deeply, but above all he upholds the good name of Smithers while doing his duty and so much more. In short, the legend of Charlie Smithers grows, as does his reputation as a fine upstanding fellow. The author must take a bow, for this book is another total triumph; written so well, with great insight and no little humour, vital for holding the attention of a discerning reader. Lord Brampton plays only a supporting role in this story, though his early encounter with the beautiful Madam Pirali is delivered with comic genius from the author. The only other thing that I will say before is closing is get yourself a copy of this magnificent book and indulge yourself with one of the best writers you will ever have the pleasure and privilege to read.